Linswritings

Water, water everywhere but none to spare in Colorado

Posted on: July 3, 2012

This year in Colorado has been tough. Wild fires and drought have hurt many communities. But this situation for our farmers in Colorado only shows how damaging bureaucracy really is.

In Weld County, a rural area on the eastern plains, grow thousands of acres of corn. However, this year, at least one third of the corn crop is dying because of the drought in the state. Two weeks ago the farmers stopped receiving surface irrigation water from rivers because of the drought conditions. As a result nearly 500 acres of corn is baking in the sun and dying.

Because of a 2006 decision by the Colorado Water Court, farmers in Weld County are severely limited as to how much groundwater they can pump for irrigation. Most were able to pump groundwater for a few days. The reason for the limitations is to protect the water levels in the aquifer and to protect the water rights of residents and farmers downstream.

However, farmers in Weld County argue the water levels in the aquifer are so high that many residents are forced to drain and pump water from the basements of their homes.

Farmers, along with the support of the Weld County Commissioners, formally requested Governor John Hickenlooper to order the pumps be turned on for one month to get the farmers through this year’s emergency drought situation. During that one month time period the water being pumped would be monitored to limit the impact on the aquifer.

In a statement from a spokesperson for Governor Hickenlooper said, “The Governor has explored every angle of allowing wells to pump more than their legally allocated amounts, and the Attorney General has twice said that’s not possible.”

So there you have it, bureaucracy at its finest. Yes, we have drought conditions but we also need to grow food for us to eat. There seems to be no compromise on this situation. Get ready to pay higher prices in the future for food.

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